Tuesday, May 01, 2012

My surgeon 'mother' & mentor Dr Ang Swee Chai

Dr Ang Swee Chai visited Gedung Kuning, my childhood home. She felt so sad and asked me if she could share my story with the Palestinians who have lost their homes. I said "yes, of course". Then Dr Ang in her soft voice said, "The 5th stage of genocide is to erase all memories". She said I was right to have written my book on Gedung Kuning and that I should write that book on Kampong Glam. 

"The past is never dead, it is not even past." Nobel Laureate William Faulkner

Dr Ang with the bunga raya in Gedung Kuning. 

Dr Ang's late husband Francis Khoo loved the hibiscus and it was a coincidence that the bunga raya was the only flower in bloom at Gedung Kuning on Mon 13 Feb 2012.

Bungaraya (by Francis Khoo)

In a garden, in an island,

Sprouts a bush among the clay
Where the rains have failed to water
And the sun has gone away
All its leaves have turned to amber
While around the land is grey
Yet that bush keeps growing taller
Struggling on it makes its way
Came one dawn a drop of water
Fell from heavens way up high
First one drop, then pitter-patter
Thunder, lightning fill the sky
'Tis the Dawn, the dawn is breaking
Heralding a brave new morn
With the rains spring little flowers
From around that bush are born
So throughout this one dry island
Sprouts more bushes from the clay,
Gardens full with crimson flowers
Bungaraya blooms all day
Bungaraya blooms all day

Dr Ang, co-author of War Surgery Field Manual, gave me her book to be shared with my doctor friends who are going on humanitarian field missions. 

Thank you Dr Ang for inspiring me and encouraging me to try for HMS again. Insya Allah!

Archipelago Consultancy

Late in December 2011, I was head-hunted by the Richard Chandler Corporation (RC). I must admit that I never knew about the corporation and of Richard Chandler, Singapore's 4th richest man and humble philanthrophist. After getting to know about the corporation, I was excited at the prospect of working with RC as I believe in RC's mission and vision. Alas, RC decided not to recruit. Although I was quite disappointed, I thought, if I could not work with Richard Chandler, I could try to be like him. With that dogged determination and desire to continue my great-grandfather, Haji Yusoff's entrepreneurial spirit, I set up my own company - Archipelago Consultancy. God willing, I aspire to be the next Richard Chandler.


It's been a few months since my last entry. No, I haven't been lazy, just overwhelmed with many new adventures. Among them is Club HEAL.

Together with Dr Radiah and friends, we founded Club HEAL (Hope, Empowerment, Acceptance & Love), a non-profitable society that aims to assist and empower persons with mental illness to regain confidence in themselves and others in their journey towards community reintegration.

We had orientation tea, organised fund-raising bazaar, training for volunteers and next Monday will be the opening of Club HEAL day care rehab service at Al-Khair Mosque. And there's also an upcoming public forum "Genie or Genes? Differentiating Mental Illness from Being Possessed".

And we've just started ...

“Open your heart and through challenges, you will find brothers and sisters and mothers and fathers in the entire universe.” – a beloved and beautiful sister who had Bipolar Disorder